Rapid growth in a business can be stressful. While it’s a good problem to have, growing quickly can sometimes be unplanned and unintentional – placing strain on systems, people and the bottom line.
There are, however, effective actions business owners and leadership can take to ensure their growth is intentional and therefore sustainable. In a nutshell, it all comes down to effective planning.
Dr Jana Matthews, ANZ Chair in Business Growth and Director of the Australian Centre for Business Growth at UniSA, speaks to three South Australian business experts, who explain the key issues in relation to marketing, people & culture and finance and how best to go about implementing actions to support intentional growth in your business.
Matthews speaks first with Binh Nguyen, Founder and CEO of Market Ease Digital:
Plan for targeted, smarter marketing
Nguyen says many business owners start off as technicians, not business owners.
They’ve got a passion for what they do and they do it really well – which often means that the word about the quality of their work spreads and that leads to growth.
“However, there’s often not much structure in that,” he says.
“So what I’ve found is that when I’m going to a company, getting clarity is the first, most important thing. Understanding exactly what they solve and who they serve – or, who their target market is.
“A lot of companies that we work with either don’t have a very well-established plan or don’t have a plan at all.”
So, Nguyen says the next step is to make a plan for your marketing activities.
How will you get in front of your target market and how will you measure success? How will you know what’s working, and what’s not?
Once you’ve got a system for measurement, then it’s just about how you go about scaling that system.
Awareness and targeting the right market
There are many ways to start to find the right customers to target.
First, says Nguyen, you need to understand that not everybody is the same and that there are five levels of awareness to keep in mind:
- Completely unaware – those who don’t even know they’ve got a problem
- Problem aware – those who know they have a problem, that they don’t know what solutions are out there
- Solution aware – those who are aware that there’s A, B, C in terms of different
solutions, but they don’t know about your particular solution
- Product aware – those who are aware of your brand and products
- Completely aware – those who are your customers, your biggest and most loyal fans.
Putting all these categories of people in the same bucket and treating them the same just doesn’t make sense, says Nguyen.
“We try to identify the characteristics that indicate what stage they’re in and how we communicate effectively to target these segments,” he says.
To do this, Nguyen recommends following a structure.
First, work from the bottom to top for ‘easy wins’. Start by targeting the most aware groups, as these take less effort and capital. Then work your way up to those who are problem aware and unaware.
Also consider your business model. Is it the best for your cash flow and for your customers? Could you be better served by moving to a subscription-based model rather than a transactional one, for example?
Next understand your audience and market to the individual, not the platform: Think of a person, not Facebook or LinkedIn, as the channel.
This helps you be a trusted source of information and establish authority and “brand equity” in your chosen markets.
This can take time, but Nguyen says it’s worth the wait.
“Once brand equity goes up, everything else follows as well,” he says.
“Your click-through rate goes up, your conversion rates go up, and your cost per acquisition goes down. There’s a whole domino effect.”
Next week Dr Jana Matthews discusses the role of people and culture in supporting growth with Scott Way, Director, BDO Industrial & Organisational Psychology.
Local News Matters
Media diversity is under threat in Australia – nowhere more so than in South Australia. The state needs more than one voice to guide it forward and you can help with a donation of any size to InDaily. Your contribution goes directly to helping our journalists uncover the facts. Please click below to help InDaily continue to uncover the facts.